Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Competitive Battling Spotlight #13: Old Pokemon Four

One of the coolest-looking birds in the entire game, a great addition to any Diamond/Pearl/Platinum team, Staraptor.

The Predator Pokemon

 Tier: BL (as of January 2012) 
H.P.: 85
Attk: 120
Def.: 70
Sp.A: 50
Sp.D: 50
Spe: 100

Abilities:  Intimidate: A great ability for just about any Pokemon, lowering the opponent's Attack stat can benefit both Staraptor and its teammates greatly. Definitely a great option for just about any set.

Reckless: Attained from the DreamWorld, Reckless was exclusive only to Hitmonlee in DPPtHGSS. Now, with STAB Brave Bird and Double Edge, Staraptor can easily make the most of it, backed by that monstrous Attack.

Analysis: Perhaps the best in the never-ending series of basic Normal/Flying type bird Pokemon available (in quite annoying abundance) at the very beginning of each game. Staraptor commands total excellence over its brethren Pidgeot, Noctowl, Swellow, and Unfezant, each of whom are quite forgettable to say the least. A nice stat spread, heightened by a remarkable 120 base Attack, a great 100 base Speed and a correlation of 85 base HP, 70 base Defense and Intimidate all contribute to Raptor’s potent usability, striking design and appearance in the BL tier at the end of 4th gen. It also has a decent movepool, wielding just the right amount of powerful physical options with a meager balance between several bird-related support options.

Potential Sets:  

1.      1. Star of Choice
4 HP/252 Atk/252 Spe
Jolly/Adamant @ Choice Band/Choice Scarf
-Brave Bird   
-Return/Retaliate/Double Edge   
-Close Combat

      Banded Lead Raptor is by far my favorite set for this wonderful bird, and is also considerably one of my favorite leads. This set is not limited to Band, however, and can be used with essentially the same moveset with a Choice Scarf as its two highest stats are exploited with maximum potential in the utilization of a Choice item. U-turn is obvious on a physical Choice set, and really allows Staraptor to get in, scout, then get out (even better with Intimidate). Brave Bird is no questions asked Raptor’s best STAB, let alone its best Flying STAB, though the recoil can be a bit of a pain. The Normal STAB here is really up to circumstance/preference. Return is, in my opinion, best used on a Banded Intimidate set, for it does dish out a great amount of damage to non-resistant Monsters, while Retaliate is ideal for revenge-killing (probably Scarfed) sets; if Staraptor uses Retaliate after the opponent has KOed one of your Pokemon, it becomes a 210 base power attack, after factoring in STAB. Double Edge can work for either a Scarf or Band set, though its ideal counterpart ability would easily be Reckless here. Just keep in mind that a Banded Adamant Reckless Double Edge is going to send back A LOT of recoil. Close Combat is the last move in this set, and for great reason. It adds coverage and more power to the already excellent combination.

2.                  2. Sub Up
100 HP/156 Def/252 Spe
Jolly @ Leftovers
-Work Up
-Aerial Ace/Close Combat/Revenge

      Unfortunately Staraptor has no means of boosting its wonderful Attack stat aside from the new Work Up, but with the correct use of its assets this set can definitely prove to be a prominent one. Strategically, you will want to switch this in on a Physical attacker, one that is not TOO overpowered, mind you, and scare them out with the Intimidate. Once you are sure the opponent can’t do much to you, you can set up a Substitute on the switch, ensuring at least one Work Up or attack of some sort. Max Speed/Jolly allows this set to work best, for it exploits the nice base 100 stat to outspeed a decent number of things. The other EVs maximize Staraptor’s bulky potential with a nice HP stat and manageable Defense, alongside Intimidate to better threaten out Physical monsters. In terms of moveset here, Sub and Work Up are the center of this set. Return is the most reliable offensive option here, for its power and STAB, though the last slot is up for grabs depending on what you prefer. Ideally, Aerial Ace rounds off a secondary STAB with the bonus of never missing, though it lacks a good amount of power. Close Combat may seem ideal as well, but the Defense drops really actually cancel out the bulk investment (also you will be able to do nothing to Ghosts). Revenge is less ideal, as with 328 Speed Staraptor is by no means slow, but it adds decent coverage without lowering the valuable potential to take hits more. Additionally, Roost or Brave Bird may be used in the final slot, though at the cost of offensive coverage and health respectively.

  1. AgiliRoost
4 HP/252 Atk/252 Spe
Adamant @ Life Orb/Leftovers
-Brave Bird
-Return/Close Combat/Double Edge 

Adamant (372 Atk) and Life Orb hit HARD, what with the excellent coverage and power granted by the afore-given moves. Agility boosts that nice Speed to astounding heights, giving you the edge over those that would otherwise attack before you. Is that Brave Bird/Life Orb combo bringing you low on health? Just Roost it all off and you’re good to go. Another benefit of Roost is that it removes the Rock, Electric and Ice weakness for a turn, though powerful, more likely Special, hits will still take you down. Also, you will become temporarily vulnerable to Fighting and Ground type attacks, so be weary.

  1. Non-Offensive Lead
            252 HP/4 Def/252 Spe
Jolly @ Leftovers/Choice Scarf
-Final Gambit 

 85 HP is definitely not bad by any standards, and with a new toy in Final Gambit, Staraptor can find an easy niche to take down some threatening monsters with lesser Hit Points. The fact that Raptor is fast only helps it more. Keep in mind that certain slow, bulky Pokemon that are taken down by a full-health Final Gambit include Porygon 2, Cofagrigus, and even Ferrothorn! This is a great way to take down certain walls that you couldn’t otherwise harm much. Aside from Gambit, this set utilizes other nice support-esque options bestowed upon Staraptor, such as Tailwind. If you have a monstrous sweeper with only sub-par Speed, allow Staraptor to fix that for about two turns. Afterward, you can just U-Turn out to the appropriate Pokemon and take over from there. The last slot again is up for grabs with the option to further harm the opponent (preferably Physical guys) with FeatherDance, the addition of some offense and STAB in Return, or even more reliable recovery if you have yet to Gambit. Leftovers is a nice touch to this set, though Scarf may be used to ensure the super-speed.

5.                  5. Reckless
4 HP/252 Atk/252 Spe
Jolly/Adamant @ Life Orb/Choice Band
-Brave Bird
-Double Edge
-Close Combat

This set just doesn’t care. It smashes through things without looking back and with little to no regard at all as to whether it survives the onslaught of oncoming POWER. With Reckless being arguably Staraptor’s most effective new addition from the fifth generation, this set employs its two most powerful (Reckless boosted) STABs, alongside the never-failing CC. Life Orb kills you faster, but allows you to hit hard with the ability to switch moves, while Choice Band epitomizes the brute force of the listed attacks. Jolly is preferable to outspeed or speed-tie with a number of good threats, though Adamant can be used for…well, do I need to say it?

Conclusion: I’m not afraid to my repeat myself in this: Staraptor is by far the best early-game bird Pokemon in the universe, and is perhaps even the best Normal/Flying type in general. Whether you agree with me or not, there is no denying a Pokemon with two excellent abilities that compliment its stats wonderfully and decent coverage to get the job done. Sure, its movepool is not large at all, especially with such a scary Attack, but it has what it needs to get the job done. I only hope you can use Staraptor with as much success as I have in the past. If we’re going to talk tiers, it was BL last gen, which is a wonderful feat, and while it is mere UU now, there is no doubt it will be either a primary contender in the Underused category, or a five Star returner to the Borderline. 

 Competitive Usability: 8 out of 10 

It's called the Predator Pokemon for a reason; I wouldn't want one of these guys chasing me down! Its fifth gen sprite makes it look a bit emo, but for some reason that's cool. I've said this several times, but I really like Staraptor quite a lot. It's definitely worth a capture. 

Aesthetic Design: 8.5  out of 10

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